It is an exciting time for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). A concept that has been around for more than a century is now closer than ever to being realised and has the potential to transform travel in the UK by offering a faster, greener way to connect communities, ease congestion and improve quality of life.
The AAM market is buoyant with global investment reaching $7Bn in 2021. However, it is not clear whether this level of market momentum will translate into viable transport alternatives in the UK.
We assessed the viability of AAM in the UK based on a comparative analysis of six AAM use cases against current travel and freight options, using a similar socioeconomic methodology to our 2021 study for the Future Flight Challenge (FFC). We found that the AAM use cases with longer distances and higher occupancy are attractive compared to existing options. If we scale the attractive use cases out to 2040 their annual impact could be:
- £2.1bn in annual socioeconomic benefit for the UK economy
- £297m in fare values
- 222m tons CO2e reduction in annual emissions, equivalent to taking 120,000 diesel cars off the road
We found that shorter-distance, lower occupancy use cases were not attractive compared to existing transport options.
There are multiple challenges that must be addressed to enable AAM to flourish. These include perception, infrastructure, technology, safety and security, regulation, business models and skills. Actions to address AAM challenges will be most effective if focussed on compelling use cases.
This report discusses our approach to Determining UK AAM potential, maps the AAM ecosystem, discusses the challenges associated with AAM adoption and follows this with a detailed breakdown of our economic modelling approach and key findings. We would like to thank the FFC for their support in producing this paper and the DfT for their suggestions.
For the purposes of this report, AAM comprises eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft for passenger and freight transport. It excludes middle mile and last mile delivery drones which we covered in our drone economic impact report Skies Without Limits v2.0.